Kill or be killed!

Every year I hear the same old story about deer hunting. Some call it murder, and some call it “survival of the fittest.” Some call it dangerous, while others say it is safe when done correctly. The truth is hunters who follow the rules and regulations are a natural and significant part of the wildlife management system. Hunting is an essential balance between man and beast.

Although the hunting concept may seem dangerous, responsible hunters can make a difference. Over 90 percent of all hunting accidents are usually the hunter or a member in their party. Hunters that have proper training and follow safe hunting practices minimize this risk.

Starvation is a slow process

If hunting were not allowed, then the entire population of deer would suffer. When a hunter shoots a deer, it is usually a quick and painless death. Starvation is a slow process of fat depletion and physical weakening. Imagine hundreds of deer that have not eaten in days. They are running off their last depleting fat cells around their kidneys and intestines. Their coats get looser, and their bone marrow turns jelly-like. The deer get very skinny and weak. They begin to stagger and lose hope, so they curl up, waiting to die. This process will not happen with careful wildlife management by allowing more predators to hunt the weak and enough hunters to help balance the ecosystem. If there are not enough predators to regulate the deer and other herbivores, human hunters are necessary; when deer populations get too large, they force adverse effects upon humans and non-humans. Vehicle collisions with deer and agricultural damage have an impact on humans.

We can evade starvation

Deer/vehicle collisions can be fatal to both the deer and the people in the vehicle. Farmers are affected when deer resort to feeding on their crops when starvation strengthens among the deer population. Overpopulation among deer also adversely affects wildlife. As hunger increases and food runs out, deer strip bark from trees, causing the trees to be more susceptible to disease. Vegetation suffers, and animals that typically feed on the vegetation would suffer. We can evade starvation, over-browsing, and potential loss of human lives when hunters control the deer population.

There is a choice

There is a choice. The deer can starve, vegetation can suffer, and human lives can be at risk, or hunting can be taken advantage of when necessary to control deer populations. Hunters can help create healthy deer populations. Everyone prospers when people, whose primary goal is helping the animals, manage hunting. The choice seems simple — wildlife management is crucial.  Although I have never hunted deer and have no inclination to do so, allowing hunters to help maintain balance is necessary. Some people may feel that we should leave animals alone and give them a safe place to live. Does this mean we shouldn’t be allowed to fish? Fish are animals too.

People allow raccoons to do as they please

Many people allow raccoons to do as they please, but they are nothing more than nuisance animals. It is legal to kill a nuisance raccoon if you hold a valid hunting license and if done humanely. The most significant problem with raccoons is infections. Raccoons are known to carry a variety of diseases. Most of these are harmless to them and people, but a few, such as distemper, can kill raccoons when their populations get too dense. These diseases also can infect pets that are not vaccinated.  Rabies is another such disease. We should not ignore rabies even though the risk is small. 

They will eat dead animals

Raccoons are not fussy about their choice of food. Although classified as a carnivore, the raccoon eats as much plant matter as animal matter during the year. When fruits, acorns, vegetables, and seeds are ripe and available, they will feed heavily on them. At other times, they will specialize in eggs, insects, crayfish, frogs, fish, and small mammals.  They will eat dead animals that they encounter. They will raid bird feeders and pet food bowls, and they’ll check out garbage cans that aren’t secured. Giving them a safe place to live because they’re “so cute” isn’t the way to maintain balance in the wilderness.

Wildlife management is crucial

There are many times when hunting is the only way to preserve the quality of the woodlands. Wildlife management is crucial, and hunting is a big part of it. For those of you that think hunting is murder, have a salad. As for the rest of you, happy hunting!

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